There is a new leader atop our Top 100 Hitters for the rest of the fantasy baseball season as we head into the second half of the season. Unfortunately, the movement is driven by an injury to Ronald Acuna. It is a big loss for fantasy owners and fans of the game alike. However, with the second half of the season we also get an opportunity to see the young crop coming up from the minors in Jarred Kelenic and Jarren Duran. Both have immense potential and I remain bullish, specifically on Mr. Kelenic. Let us see how they stack up for the top 100 hitters and where the buys and sells profile for the second half.
To run down a few key names in the Top 100 we will do a quick Buy and Sell this week:
- Franmil Reyes – Reyes has gotten off to a hot start since returning from injury with a .345 average and a handful of longballs in just about a week’s time. After missing nearly five weeks due to an oblique injury, he is back smashing the ball. He is at the very top of the league with his barrels and in the top 10 for exit velocity, hard hit rates, and xSLG giving us a million reasons to invest. The injury will keep his overall numbers for the season in check, but on a per-game basis he has been an absolute stud this season. Sell somebody on his high strikeout rate and injury history and take advantage of Aaron Judge at the price of well…Franmil Reyes.
- Jared Walsh – I am not sure whether it is playing with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, playing on the west coast or stealing the place of Mr. Albert Pujols in the lineup. Whatever it is, Jared Walsh continues to be undervalued. I peg him as nearly a top 30 hitter at this point and see little reason that will not continue the rest of the season. There might not be a huge buying window in your league, but the lack of a name brand for Walsh make it worth kicking those tires.
- Nelson Cruz – Nelson Cruz represents another point where the fantasy industry tends to forget that we need the best hitters in our lineups. It is like the amateur draft for the MLB, early on with the best players do not get cute and mess around with positional needs. I get that Cruz clogs up the utility spot in the lineup and that he is 70 or 80 years old. That said, you will be hard pressed to find a better contributor the rest of the season. Many industry lists peg Bryce Harper around the top 10-12, while Cruz is barely in the Top 40…Cruz is Harper without speed and that is not that big of a difference.
- Pete Alonso – Time to cash in on that Home Run Derby hype! Do not get me wrong, he is having a fine season and arguably has better underlying statistics than his first few years. However, Pete is still just a slugging corner infielder that will hit .250 with a pile of home runs in a Mets lineup that continues to disappoint as it pertains to padding his counting stats. Was he at fair value prior to the All-Star Game? Sure. Is somebody in your league going to overpay for the derby? Very possible. Is Alonso really any different than Randal Grichuk if you remove the accolades and New York lights? Nope…
- Joey Gallo – Over his last dozen games, Joey Gallo has driven 11 balls over the fence while sporting a fancy .378 average with a very reasonable .250 BABIP. There is limited luck driven these results, so why sell? It should be no mystery to folks, but Gallo is one of the streakiest hitters on the planet. He could go 20 games with 4 homers and an average under the Mendoza line tomorrow! Wait? That was the 20 games stretch prior to this hot streak. If somebody is buying and willing to give you a solid top 50 bat, you should jump on that yesterday.
- Yoan Moncada – Mr. Moncada is a pretty good baseball player and will help a real-world team. He can also be a decent supporting piece on a fantasy team, but the general fantasy industry views him as a borderline top 50 hitter which is more than a supporting price tag. For a guy that has given us 11 homers and 2 steals over the past 130 games dating back to the beginning of 2020, that simply makes no sense. Maybe he is hitting .380 and that is a boon to the rotisserie scoring…Nope, just checked still a .270 hitter. Sell please.